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44. Mbula 


Introduction and Woidlist : Salme E. - Robert Z>. Bugenhagen 

1. Introduction 

Mbula 1 is a language spoken on Sakar Island and the eastern half of Umboi 
Island in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea. There are some 2500 
speakers of the language, who live in seven villages: Alario, Kabi, 
Kampalap, Marile, Birik, Yangla, and Gauru. There are four mutually 
intelligible dialects: (1) the Sakar dialect, which is spoken only in Alario 
village on Sakar Island, (2) the Northern dialect, which is spoken in the 
villages of Kabi and Kampalap, (3) the Central dialect, which is spoken in 
Marile, Birik, and Yangla, and (4) the Gauru dialect, which is spoken only in 
Gauru village. 

There is very litde earlier published work on the language or culture. 
Chinnery's anthropological report (1926: 24-29) contains some notes on 
vocabulary by the Reverend G. Bamler, and Harding (1967), in his study of 
the Siassi traders, makes some references to the Kaimanga. Bugenhagen 
(1986) describes the possesive system of the language, Bugenhagen (1989) 
the encodings of various degrees of transitivity, and Bugenhagen (1990) the 
modality system of the language. 

Hooley (1971) classified Mbula as a member of the Siassi Family. Ross 
(1988: chapter 5) classifies it as a member of the Vitiaz linkage of his North 
New Guinea Cluster. 

Data have been collected on the language by the authors since October 
1982. Approximately two and half years of this period have been spent in 
residence in Yangla village. The fieldwork has been conducted under the 
auspices of the Summer Institute of Linguistics and the government of Papua 
New Guinea. We are grateful to the Papua New Guinea Government for 
allowing us the privilege of serving in their country, and to the many Mbula 
speakers who have been willing to share their homes, food, time, language, 

1. Mbula has generally been referred to in the literature as Mangap or Kaimanga. During 
our residence in the area, we have heard the names Mangaba and Mbula, with different 
villages preferring one or the other name. 

692 Mbula 

culture, and in general their lives with us. Our main teachers of the language 
have been: Silas Ariko of Gaum village; Giemsa Apei, Moses Gial, David 
Aibike, Phillip Ibop, and Makele Gilingde of Yangla village: and Dick Awa 
of Birik village. 

148«E >W^ 

MBULA Alario^pl 

Masel^X^^ X 

-5°30S f \ 

i v^upwel • 


\ 1454 ^Kampalap 

\ e . . 1658 3$&\ 
Y • Siassi • v'%^\ 

Manus ^* . _ 

^^ New Ireland^^^ 
^^^^^ MBULA New Britaii^M^ 


5 10 15 \^mf 

Kilometres \ Nj 

1 -'»- 

Map 44. Mbula language area 

Bugenhagen, Salme E. and Robert D. 1995. Mbula. In Tryon, Darrell T. (ed.) 
Comparative Austronesian Dictionary. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.